Cover image for Reporting America at war : an oral history
Title:
Reporting America at war : an oral history
Author:
Ferrari, Michelle.
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Hyperion, [2003]

©2003
Physical Description:
viii, 241 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781401300722
Format :
Book

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PN4784.W37 R46 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Summary

Summary

Whether dodging sniper fire, accompanying strategic bombing raids over enemy territory, challenging the Pentagon's version of events, or crossing the frontlines to interview figures at the heart of the conflict, war correspondents have served as the eyes and ears of the nation, conveying the facts, the brutality and the drama of warfare, and shaping public opinion in the process. Now for the first time, in Reporting America at War, the nation's most respected reporters share their stories to create a fascinating oral history.


Author Notes

Michelle Ferrari, writer of the PBS series Reporting America at War, has been creating innovative and critically acclaimed documentary narratives for more than a decade. She was the writer of the PBS special Out of the Past and the American Experience documentary Seabiscuit, which earned her a 2003 Primetime Emmy nomination. Her work also has been seen on HBO and Cinemax, and has received honors from the Writers Guild of America, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards, and film festivals nationwide. She lives in New York City


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Eleven outstanding war correspondents reminiscence and comment on the profession in oral history style, thanks to Ferrari and Tobin's editing. The 11 range from long-gone Edward R. Murrow to several who covered both recent wars in Iraq; furthermore, the epilogue extends some contributors' vitae to include events earlier this year. Depending on one's perspective, there are several hackle-raisers among the 11, and yet Gloria Emerson, Walter Cronkite, and Ward Just present their views and life stories with integrity and substantial knowledge of war and the military. On the other hand, the recently controversial Peter Arnett and Chris Hedges go on about the political circumstances of their work in ways that some readers may think of as living down to their reputations. All 11 do, however, provide valuable testimony on the sheer physical difficulties the war reporter must endure, difficulties that, during the Iraq wars, have only worsened because of the premium satellite-transmission reporting puts on getting anything, even the most random fragments, on the air. --Roland Green Copyright 2003 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Beginning with Edward R. Murrow's live reports during the London blitz and ending with an epilogue on the second war in Iraq, this oral history contains transcripts of interviews with 11 top correspondents. Murrow is one of three deceased reporters included (the others are Martha Gellhorn and Homer Bigart), along with Walter Cronkite, Andy Rooney, Frank Gibney, Malcolm Browne, David Halberstam, Morley Safer, Ward Just, Gloria Emerson, Chris Hedges and Christiane Amanpour. Compared with correspondents who covered WWII and Korea, today's journalists tend to have more campaign ribbons. The New York Times's Hedges, for example, has covered Central America, the Middle East and the Balkans; Amanpour has reported for CNN from the Persian Gulf, Yugoslavia, Somalia and Afghanistan. The correspondents who were in Vietnam-including Homer Bigart and Gloria Emerson-opine on the official disinformation campaign and the corruption of the Saigon regime, while Amanpour, who covered a different kind of war in Somalia, speaks of the impact of the repeated showing of footage of an American soldier's body being dragged through Mogadishu, which she says caused the Clinton administration to curtail the U.S.'s mission there. Tobin's introductions and transitional and informational interpolations within the transcripts hold this informative volume together. Just sums up the book's importance: "As long as there are wars, it is very important to know, in the details, how they are being fought [and] to know the manner in which people are dying.... If someone isn't there to report it, it's just a tree crashing in the forest with nobody to hear it." Photos. (Oct. 8) Forecast: The book, a tie-in to a PBS documentary series airing in November, should receive some attention, thanks to a radio interview campaign and print ads. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Journalists who have followed U.S. troops into battle since World War II reflect on their profession in this book published in conjunction with a two-part PBS documentary that aired in November 2003. From daily radio broadcasts and weekly newsreel footage in World War II and Korea and war news on TV at dinnertime during Vietnam to 24/7 reporting on the Gulf War and Kosovo and reporters embedded with the troops in Iraq, the war correspondent has played a critical role. As David Halberstam says, "You are witness to the most elemental thing in human lifeAsurvival, people killing peopleAand a great deal is at stake. I think [war] brings out the best in reporters." Many of the reporters covered multiple wars: Walter Cronkite had World War II and Vietnam; Martha Gellhorn started with the Spanish Civil War; Homer Bigart reported from all the theaters of World War II, went to Korea, and then to Vietnam. They also remember their predecessors, Edward R. Murrow and Ernie Pyle. The tremendous influence of journalists on the public reaction to the government handling of military affairs is evident here. It's unfortunate that the narrators (William Dufris, Christopher Price, and others) attempt to imitate the accents of the well-known reporters whose work they read; it is curious, too, that a Brit would narrate the chapter introductions, which are, after all, about American reporters. The accents detract, rather than enhance this work. Purchase where demand warrants.ANann Blaine Hilyard, Zion-Benton P.L., IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

Forewordp. vii
Introductionp. 1
Edward R. Murrowp. 11
Walter Cronkitep. 19
Martha Gellhornp. 33
Andy Rooneyp. 51
Frank Gibneyp. 63
Homer Bigartp. 73
Malcolm W. Brownep. 91
David Halberstamp. 111
Morley Saferp. 133
Ward Justp. 147
Gloria Emersonp. 163
Peter Arnettp. 173
Chris Hedgesp. 191
Christiane Amanpourp. 207
Epilogue: The War in Iraq, 2003p. 219
Afterwordp. 227
Acknowledgmentsp. 229
Indexp. 233